Citizen Letter to Local Government
We NEed your voice!
C3 is thrilled to know that the City, County and UVA are working together to address local climate solutions. As a part of the goal-setting process to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, these three entities are seeking your valuable input. We’ve crafted the following citizen letter outlining why we believe a leadership-level goal is imperative to developing and implementing a successful climate action plan. We hope you will join us and #AddYourVoice!
Signature Counter: 927
Dear City Councilors and County Supervisors,
As citizens of the Charlottesville area, we share a common goal to protect the health and vitality of our community against effects of climate change impacting our built, social, and natural systems. The future of our community, of our children, and of our legacy is dependent on commitments to reducing our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
So, we thank you for taking up the important task of setting new community climate goals for the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County, and for recognizing the need to develop comprehensive Climate Action Plans to ensure we reach those goals!
As community members, we recognize that we have an important role to play in reducing emissions for the health and safety of our families, friends, and future. But we cannot do it alone. Setting an ambitious GHG reduction goal would serve to catalyze and activate all members of the community around this common purpose.
As citizens, we are concerned about climate leadership for a number of important reasons:
1. We believe our local government should make commitments that reflect our values.
The issue of climate change concerns many families, students, and individuals who wish to see Charlottesville support and promote a more sustainable way of living. According to the 2018 Yale Climate Opinion map, the majority of Charlottesville and Albemarle County residents feel that more should be done to address climate impacts.
2. Climate leadership is vital for ensuring our community remains a desirable place to live, work and play.
The City and County’s current emissions reduction goals lag conspicuously behind our peer communities in the region and across the Commonwealth. As a community of forward thinkers and problem-solvers, Charlottesville has a reputation of innovation and progress to uphold.
3. The health and safety of our community is at risk.
Extreme weather events, like flash flooding or intense heat, are becoming increasingly more frequent and severe. Already the greater Charlottesville area is experiencing an average of 9-14 days of extreme heat per summer according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (2018). While climate change impacts all of us, low-income families, children, and the elderly are members of our community that feel the effects to an even greater extent.
4. We are all in this together.
As various sectors of the community come together to address this problem, we as citizens also aim to be part of the solution. Together, we have already reduced emissions by 21% since 2011 and with a leadership level goal driving our climate action plan, we can make even greater strides.
We urge the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County to do the following:
1. Establish a best-in-class climate goal of: (a) reducing our year 2010 baseline greenhouse gas emissions 45% by the year 2030; and (b) achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.
This goal is aligned with the overarching goal in the International Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 2018 report of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. It is what the world’s preeminent climate scientists tell us is needed to avoid the most harmful consequences of climate change.
2. Commit to conducting a greenhouse gas inventory every two years.
Regular inventories are absolutely critical. Looking back, the City conducted inventories of 2000, 2011, and most recently, 2016. The County’s last inventory was of 2008 emissions. We only have eleven years to reach a 45% reduction, so we must be diligent. Frequent and regular measurement of our progress is necessary to ensure we are pursuing effective strategies and keeping climate action a focus of our community.
Thank you, again, for recognizing the need to address this important issue. We believe that together we can ensure the health and vitality of our residents, protect our natural resources, and strengthen the resilience of this dynamic community we call home.